ALBANY, N.Y. – It was senior night at The University at Albany's SEFCU Arena, where the Danes defeated the University of New Hampshire, 56-49 Thursday. It wasn't apparent, though, whether or not it would be a night of celebration from the tip-off for the Danes.
New Hampshire came out confident, taking a 25-21 lead in the first half. Missing 18 of the 25 shots they attempted for the period made it hard for the Danes to find their rhythm against the consistency of the Wildcats' outside shot. What hurt the Danes most was the points put on the board by junior forward Patrick Konan, who went 9-of-10 from the field and a flawless 6-of-6 from beyond the arc, recording a game-best 24 points for the night.
UAlbany's best inside player, sophomore forward Sam Rowley, didn't take a shot in the first 20 minutes and got few touches the entirety of the first half. After intermission, though, the Danes made getting the ball inside a decisive goal, outscoring the Wildcats 22-8 inside the paint by game's end.
Halftime proved to be a beneficial break for the trailing Danes, who took control of the floor with a 15-4 run, never to fall behind again in the second half. The run was capped by senior guard Mike Black driving the lane and dishing to freshman guard Peter Hooley, who sunk a three-pointer from the corner.
New Hampshire answered with back-to-back three-pointers from Konan and senior guard Chandler Rhoads to cut the deficit to 36-35. Though UAlbany never completely shook the Wildcats, they were able to successfully garner a win for the team's four seniors, who combined for 57 percent of the offensive output.
A major contributing factor to that win was Black's 23-point comeback performance. Not only did sinking 9 of 14 from the field help lead his team to its ultimate victory, but it also moved him into sixth place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,476 points. Black also grabbed six rebounds for the Danes.
Backing Black's efforts were teammates Sam Rowley, sophomore forward, who added 11 points, five rebounds and one block, and junior center John Puk, who grabbed his game-best nine rebounds.
In the final moments, it was UAlbany's defensive strength and rebounding persistence that stopped New Hampshire. The Danes beat the Wildcats on the boards, 37-2, and with less than four minutes to play, the Danes were able to hold their offensive opponent to just four points.
This was the team's 21st victory, which is the second most wins in program history ahead of postseason. Up next for UAlbany, the team is slated to face Stony Brook at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 3 at Pritchard Gym for its regular-season finale.
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